Thursday, June 23, 2011

1983: Where did the feeling go?

What a turnaround from this time last year.

Far from dreading going to boarding school with all my heart I now couldn't wait to get back. And I mean, couldn't wait. Terms always stared far later than other schools, so after a very long, very hot, very boring summer in Bahrain in which I did very little but make mix tapes and go swimming, I was dying to return.

School had been brilliant, and it was to be all change on my return. At the end of the previous term we could request which house we wanted to be in and who we wanted to share with, and this was already in place. The olive leather-clad Malteser was leaving, and though we didn't hang out together or were ever really friends, we did reach an understanding and the day he said goodbye was quite sad one after all. He swept his after shave collection into his expensive luggage, boxed up his Eurohit collection including things by Fischer Z and Italian women I'd never heard of and moved on. I wonder what he's doing now?

The new term would bring new possibilities and lots of new faces, clearing out a sizeable chunk of the Nigerian/Arab population and bringing in a whole load of fresh British and European meat. Did I mention this was school was mixed? Good times were ahead.

But in the meantime I was preparing a new me for a new school year. Three months away can be a lifetime when you're a teenager, and it really dragged. The friends I'd made the year before were no longer around, and though my cousin had moved to Bahrain by this time in search of a new life following her redundancy back home, she was a older than me and had her own life to lead, which she did, in spades. There's someone who never looked back.

So there was nothing much else going on for me than my music, with fortnightly trips to the supermarket to get a prized copy of Smash Hits before they all went, and taping the latest chart entries off the radio. The one song that reminds me of this impatient period was this Big Country song, which though is about rain-soaked humdrum towns was just as apt for a hazy, dusty, low-evening sunsoaked oil-rich Gulf state.

Of course, the day I arrived back at school three songs I'd not even heard yet were on everyone's record players: Modern Love by David Bowie, This Is Not A Love Song by PIL and the new number one and Red, Red Wine by UB40, which is a whole other entry in itself.

Until then, enjoy this Eurohit. Is that Aramis I can smell?


  1. I don't really remember a lot about Big Country now, they never left much of an impression on me other than the "Mark Unpronounceablename" thing in Smash Hits.

    And that's it. Intrigued by the reference to the new "meat"...

  2. Much checkness of shirt, much bagpipe of string. I loved Big Country and their stuff still holds up now. That unpronounceable drummer was the spit of the drummer in the Cult, and they weren't invited to Live Aid because Bob Geldof thought they'd split up.

  3. How did I not previously know that Phoebe "Which one of you bitches is my mother?" Cates had a Euro-single out? Especially when tragic French TV tie-ins of the mid-to-late 80s are a specialist subject of mine.

    Sadly I can't actually listen until I get home (no speakers here), but I'm imagining something akin to Princess Stephanie of Monaco's musical endeavours.

  4. I went to see Big Country once. It was the first time I'd ever smoked anything naughty, so I thought everything they did was absolutely hilarious. Especially when they kept shouting "SHAAT!".

    Phoebe Cates' number passed me by - though I bet it was a monster hit in Belgium and Greece that year.

    Dying to hear how you fared with the 'new meat' (*straightens bow-tie and does Leslie Phillips leer*)

  5. Not so much Princess Stephanie, it's more of a slowie, in a Euro way. I know you're going to love it, RS.

    The new meat: Well, that's another story. But not too badly.

    Meat is a terrible way to say it, but I get that you know what I mean.